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Review: Atari Flashback Classics for the Nintendo Switch…

With all-new achievements, leaderboards and social features bringing players together, combined with an amazing archive of classic artwork make Atari Flashback Classics Switch the most complete Atari collection ever!

So although we recently reviewed the Atari Flashback Classics Vol. 3 here over on the site, but we couldn’t resist having this huge collection on the go on the Nintendo Switch. In the same likeness to our earlier review, rather than going over each individual game (listed below), we’re gonna be covering the overall feel of the collection and seeing what it brings to the table.

Unlike a lot of you folks (I assume) who played these games growing up, I am not fortunate enough to be experiencing these games through nostalgia-eyed lenses, in fact, with a lot of these titles this was my first experience really interacting with these classic titles (besides maybe asteroids and pong.) So without further ado, let’s get into it.

THE GOOD:

So first things first, the emulation is perfectly fine to this collection if that’s what you were worried about. As you should expect, these 30+-year-old games run great on your Switch. This collection also boasts online functionality for its games, but more on that later. The Flashback Collection also features online leaderboards for you to grind your way to the top 62 to prove to everyone that you’re the absolute, undisputed Asteroids champion.

There are a lot of neat display settings to tinker with as well, such as adding flicker from the Atari 2600 or adding scanlines and vector glow. You can also tinker with your control settings pretty liberally if you do decide to remap your controls. On top of local and online leaderboards, there are also in-game achievements. It’s nice knowing that even though Nintendo won’t put achievements on their platform, Atari has your back. Yes, now all that is fine and good, but where does this collection fall short?

THE BAD:

Atari, at the time, were pioneers in the videogame industry; they were building the foundation and groundwork for later companies to further build upon, but alas, T.V. remote controllers for your console was, indeed, not the future. Due to the Atari 5200’s, erm, unique controller, the majority of these games are going to feel a bit clunky. That goes for any games that use the paddle or trackball controller as well, due to the left stick being supplemented for it. The sensitivity of the left stick is absolutely nuts, and tweaking with the sensitivity doesn’t seem to alleviate the issue so I resorted to using the d-pad for a lot of these games and that seemed to work just fine. Just one glance at the game list in this compilation, and you’ll see there’s a lot of arcades to console ports and a LOT of sports titles.

Now there are a few obvious omissions from this library (looking at you, E.T.), with all these fluff games thrown in instead. If online functionality is the reason you’re looking to pick this title up, I’m sorry to say that it was pretty much a barren wasteland. Checking nearly every title, I struggled to find a single online lobby to play. On top of not being able to find a lobby, leaderboards are a bit barren as well, seeing bottom scores at measly 4000 points for a lot of games.

THE UGLY(CONCLUSION):

At $39.99 USD, that is a very bold price tag for what is being offered. Katamari Damacy: Reroll is charging $10 less, and Captain Toad’s Treasure Tracker is being sold at the same price. As it stands, if you already own the flashback collection on another system, or better yet, actually own an Atari collection, there’s no real need to buy this compilation besides the portability aspect. Now don’t get me wrong, I can still have some fun with the boys and bust out some Pong on the go, but realistically I’m not gonna get nearly as much time per dollar spent value out of this collection compared to other titles with a similar price. Maybe I’m here on the outside looking in, and without these games being a part of my childhood, there’s no way I can understand the feeling you get playing these games. As for me, I’m usually putting my Switch down after about 5 minutes of Asteroids. One thing I can say is that playing these old school titles has really humbled me and made me really appreciate the kind of quality titles we have today.

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